From wags to readers

Ok, Willow my beloved cocker spaniel is not actually writing this column – it is about dogs, not by a dog.

Ok, Willow my beloved cocker spaniel is not actually writing this column – it is about dogs, not by a dog. Although I’m sure if Willow had thumbs and could put pen to paper she’d have some very excellent advice to share about life.

After all she’s got it pretty good. Hand-delivered meals, full enjoyment of a queen-sized bed all day, an owner who loves to take her to the beach or park and the opportunity to earn cheese cubes at her favourite training class. She even has a custom-made snow suit so we don’t have to worry about snowballs building up  on her fur during ski or snowshoe adventures.

But I just put her picture at the top to prove a point.

People love dogs. They love to read about dogs and I’m no exception. Be honest. You are likely still reading because you know this column is about dogs. Why?

Because dogs are terrific. They are always happy to see you and demonstrate it daily with a full-body wag. They never betray a confidence, they somehow know exactly when you need a cuddle and there’s no better personal trainer than a dog who is used to a regular walk.

So I’m betting that a column with Willow’s picture at the top will generate a lot more reader interest than one with my usual mug at the top.

And I’ve got the research to prove it.

A recent Washington Post article examined a research study focusing on bias in the press and came to this strong conclusion, summed up in the headline: “Study shows the media has a clear bias – in favour of dogs.”

The article talks about how researchers from the University of California and the University of Miami identified 18 dog-related stories and a corresponding 334 non-dog related articles.

The results? In short, the dog-related stories were more than three times as likely to be picked up and run by other newspapers. The conclusion is that editors like dogs and know that people like to read about them too.

Put a dog in a story and readership goes up.

There is also another similar phenomenon about cats, but since I am allergic to that species, I’m not going to address it here. I feel somewhat vindicated by this research after being mocked for years by fellow reporters who called me the Canine Beat Reporter or who laughed at my efforts to write stories about hard-hitting topics like: “What is the most popular dog name in Salmon Arm?” (At that time Max was the big winner) or “The working dogs of Salmon Arm.”

So I say what the Observer actually needs is more dog stories.

And Willow will back me up on that.



Pets, and not just dogs,  are also an important part of Christmas. Share a memory with us about your holiday with your pet and you could be part of a holiday feature in the Observer. Email submissions to before Dec. 15. No more than 300 words, please. Pet pictures are welcome.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stanley Cup returning to Salmon Arm after 15 years

Resident excited for twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see iconic trophy

Money available to curtail nutrient pollution of Shuswap watershed

Excessive phosphorous could make algae blooms and other unpleasant conditions more common

Eight times a charm: Larch Hills skiers win team trophy at Teck BC event

Shuswap contingent wins Midget Championships honour eighth year in a row

Salmon Arm boy is only Para-Nordic athlete at BC Winter games

Thirteen-year-old Kaden Baum competed in three races on his sit-ski at the games.

Home loss ends season for Sicamous Eagles

A defeat at the hands of the 100 Mile House Wranglers on Feb. 22 was the Eagles’ last outing.

Okanagan rescue team comes back home from Australian mission

Brad Pattison’s team spent 33 days rescuing wildlife

Kelowna mayor to request RCMP’s ‘unfounded’ sexual assault report

RCMP said the report was completed over a month ago but have yet to release it or make a statement

Criminality not suspected in Ellison trailer fire death

The body was discovered after crews responded to reports of a house fire

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Kelowna youth accused of killing 16-year-old released

The young woman was arrested on Feb. 21 and is facing one charge of manslaughter

Interior Health appoints administrator at Summerland Seniors Village

Numerous concerns raised about private seniors care facility

Man arrested following suspicious trailer fire in Kelowna

Reports came in about the fire at approximately 11:45 a.m. on Monday morning

Body discovered following vehicle fire on Kelowna property

Firefighters discovered a body in a home on Anderson Road

‘Please be quiet,’ Kelowna Mayor tells sexual assault survivor protesting in council chambers

Forty per cent of sexual assaults reported to Kelowna RCMP in 2019 were deemed ‘unfounded’

Most Read